Hofstra Law Review


In Terry v. Ohio, the Supreme Court recognized for the first time that there exists a stage in police-citizen encounters less intrusive than an arrest – a temporary stop and detention that may be based on reasonable suspicion. As Chief Justice Warren realized in Terry, however, there may be a stage that exists prior to even a Terry stop. If the action taken by the police does not amount to a seizure, then the officer does not need to articulate any level of suspicion. This Note explores the issue of what point in police - citizen encounters a seizure occurs. By examining the differences between seizures and non-seizures, and the policy values behind the fourth amendment, this Note argues that a “totality of the circumstances test” should be used to determine when a seizure occurs.

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